Pablo Neruda
The Great Urinator

translated, from the Spanish, by John Felstiner


The great urinator was yellow

and the stream that came down

was bronze-colored rain

on the domes of churches,

on the roofs of cars,

factories and cemetaries,

the populace and their gardens.


Who was it, where was it?


It was a density, think liquid

falling as from

a horse,

and frightened passersby

with no umbrellas

gazed up skyward,

meanwhile avenues were flooding

and urine inexhaustible flowing

underneath doors,

backing up drains, disintegrating

marble floors, carpets,



Nothing could be detected.  Where

was this peril from?

What was going to happen to the world?


From on high the great urinator

was silent and urinated.


I am a pale and artless poet

not here to work out riddles

or recommend special umbrellas.

Hasta la vista! I greet you and go off

to a country where they won’t ask me questions.

Found In Volume 32, No. 04
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Pablo Neruda
About the Author

Born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in southern Chile on July 12, 1904, Pablo Neruda led a life charged with poetic and political activity. During his lifetime, Neruda received numerous awards, including the International Peace Prize in 1950, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He died in Santiago, Chile on September 23, 1973, just twelve days after the overthrow of Chile’s democratic regime.